Loose scrapbook compiled by the militant Suffragette Kitty Marion comprising newscuttings from national newspapers and The Suffragette. The cuttings dating from 1909-1916 relate to suffragette militancy including arson with some directly references to Kitty Marion. Many of the pages have been annotated by Kitty with dates and locations.
The scrapbook includes cuttings relating to key events that Kitty had a direct involvement in. These include reports relating to the interruption of Lloyd George's meeting at the Royal National Eisteddfod held at Wrexham by Kitty and other Suffragettes. Two printed images in different newspapers depict a 'hatless' Kitty being led away by two policemen. The reports refer to the 'rough handling' of the women whose dresses were badly torn and were 'greatly distressed'. Alongside the reports is pasted Kitty's entry ticket to the meeting 'block C row 11 seat 338 (ticket) on Thursday September 5th Royal National Eisteddfod, Wrexham.
Also included are reports of the arson of the grandstand at Hurst Park racecourse and Levetleigh, the St Leonards mansionof the MP Arthur du Cros. In 1913 Kitty and Clare Giveen were found guilty of causing the fire at the racecourse in 1913. It is also likely she was responsible for the arson attack on the house of Arthur du Cros, the MP for St. Leonard’s in Sussex.
Other newscuttings refer to the destruction by fire of station buildings on 11th March 1913 at Croxley stations, 20 miles from Euston and Saunderton Station near High Wycombe where a placard attached to railings read 'Votes for Women. We are burning for the vote'. Also included in the scrapbook are reports on the arson of Seafield house, Seaforth and Sefton Park Palm House. Although there is no evidence to link these arson attacks directly to Kitty her inclusion of newscuttings relating to these events in her scrapbook is potentially significant.
Also included in the scrapbook are extracts from the Suffragette newspaper recounting Kitty's experience in prison. These include an account of her last spell in Holloway for the grandstand fire where she was released several times under the terms of the Cat and Mouse Act and force-fed 232 times over a 14 week period.
Born Katherina Maria Schafer in Germany, Kitty came to England in 1886 at the age of 15 shortly after which she started working for Variety theatre, touring the country. From 1908 when she became a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union and the Actresses' Franchise League Kitty combined her career as a militant with that of her music hall career as a 'vocal comedienne.' Kitty was arrested multiple times for militancy, the first in June 1909 for taking part in the WSPU deputation to the House of Commons. She was also sentenced to 5 terms of imprisonment, her first in October 1909 when she and Dorothy Pethick were sent to prison for throwing a stone at a post office window in Newcastle. Whilst in prison Kitty went on hunger strike, was forcibly fed and set fire to her cell. On her release in December she went on to do the Christmas pantomime season. In March 1912 Kitty took part in the window smashing campaign, using a hammer to smash the windows of both the Silversmith’s Association and Sainsbury’s on Regent Street. Because Holloway prison was full she served her 6 month sentence at Winson Green prison in Birmingham. By 1913 Kitty was operating as an arsonist for the WSPU as evidenced by her scrapbook.
Faced with deportation to Germany on the outbreak of World War I, Marion eventually negotiated her pasage to the USA where she lived for the remainder of her life devoted to Margaret Sanger's birth control cause.